An interesting week and a Survivor.

Part of the Wetlands today (Monday)

After  our shopping trip this morning, (Monday) I helped Annabell get things sorted out them took Benji off to the Wetlands. It has been very cold here these last two days and this morning Benji  didn’t want to get out of bed and go for a walk in the cold at 6am. With the temperature at -2,  I can’t say I blame him, so we didn’t go and stayed in the room with the heater on. By the time I took him to the Wetlands

Benji at the Wetlands

it was a bit warmer and he was quite happy to  go out. We had a good walk  around the wetlands – bit of a breeze and cool, but not too bad. The Kiosk is closed down for alterations but it should be up and running again shortly. The rain the other week has helped to make the wetlands look a bit more visually pleasing – as you can see – but we do need a lot more rain. In our walks recently there have been a lot of Kangaroos wandering about looking for water again. They have even been seen in Nicolson Avenue, which is a fairly busy road. At the moment it is a fairly mild day in that the last few days have been mornings of  – degrees while today (Tuesday)  was 4c,  still a bit on the cold side but ok for a morning walk. Benji and I will be out and about most of this week as we endeavor to keep out of Annabell’s way. This weekend in the Ladies Brunch, so she will be busy baking in the kitchen. Apart from keeping out of the way,  Benji and I will be ‘gofers’ and drive to the various shops to get anything she needs, if and when she needs it.

Went for a walk to the Wetlands this afternoon and  had coffee in the Kiosk with Jennifer, Milan and Max.   The usual sniffs but at least  Benji didn’t snarl at Max and we had a peaceful time with coffee and scones. The day was warm and sunny and 21c but I can see that already the water  is starting to evaporate. There is supposed to be some rain on Saturday – in nice time for the cuttlefish and the Cake Stall – will not interfere with what Annabell and the ladies at the Ladies brunch but it could interfere with both the RFDS events.

Rejoice with me!  Today is Friday – the end of the week – an entire week without a single hospital visit nor a doctor visit. Is that something  to rejoice about or what! Next week is different, and will include an ECG for her,  but we’ll deal with that when it’s next week. In the meantime, it’s been a good week.  Saturday and it’s all happening. It’s 6:30am today is the Cuttlefish diving, the RFDS Catering out there, the RFDS Cake Stall at the Hardware store and the Ladies Brunch — and —- it’s chucking it down. Isn’t that fun. It will be ok for the Cuttlefish Divers, they are going to get wet anyway, the ladies Brunch will be indoors, but the Cake Stall and the Cuttlefish Catering are currently at risk. Right at the moment I am being hassled  but I am not taking him walking in the heavy rain, so he can just go

The last surviving Mandevilla.

back to his bed for a bit;.

The rain faded away by about 7:30 and it turned out a fine day – almost. Everything went well, the Cuttlefish Catering, The  Cake Stall and the Ladies Brunch. The cuttlefish catering we wont know until  the  end of today and we get the two days  and the cake stall calculated. The Ladies Brunch was good but not as good as it has been. We think there was just too much on this weekend – something the ladies are going to have consider if they decide to continue next year. I did say almost a fine day since the rain came back about 3pm but only in the form of a few quick showers. Not enough to cause much concern. The Cake Stall had sold everything by 11:30 and they had nearly three full tables of home baking – and it all went.

Taken at 10am as the heavy, wet mist was  slowly clearing.

Tomorrow (Monday 1st July) is the AGM of the RFDS here and my last  time as Secretary. There is some doubt as to whether or not  the  Secretary Elect will  go forward to election but either way, I will not. The Secretary elect was elected as Secretary but not without some controversial maneuvering. Members of the “In Group” wanted their man to be Secretary but the  Coordinator from Central Operations in Adelaide who was chairing the meeting, ruled this as Out Of Order, since the person concerned was not at the meeting and therefore unable to agree or not to his election.   Oh, yes, and we were told at the meeting that the RFDS Jet, which was to make a visit to each of the areas, will not be coming. Central Operations decided to  send the Jet to the properties of each of the major corporate sponsors instead and since it is now in operation, there is not time for any regional visits.

Birthday, drug test and Max going home

Sunday June 2nd, Today is our grandson’s 2nd Birthday. Last year we had a big Birthday Party and took over part of the local area park and the Barbecue Units. This year was very much low key with only family invited to the house for cake and presents. So much has happened in the last two years that the time has  just flown. Indeed, it’s almost time for the ladies to start work on organizing the Ladies Brunch, their main charity fundraiser for the year. This is always well advertised and generally well attended. This afternoon I completed  the posters for the function and gave them to Annabell.  Next she will give me a list of the addresses they have to be sent to and I’ll make  the address labels, then take down to the Post Office.  This is a long weekend for us ( Queen’s Birthday Weekend). On Monday we will still do the grocery shopping since the supermarkets are open even if everything else is closed. Son is still having problems with his car so he telephoned and asked if I could take him to work. As I said before, he works about 20 klms. out of town. Anyway, I picked him up at 6am this morning and was stopped at the Security gate for a random drug and alcohol test – and – since I was not an employee,  had to do an induction test  to be allowed to drive through the Steelworks site. They own all the land. All that done and we set off to his company and we were driving along at the 40kpm speed when he decided to tell me that this was the part of the dirt road where he had damaged his car –  “Oh but it’s been graded since then”  Well thanks John, I  really needed to know that. Made me feel so much better!  I really enjoyed  driving 40 kms at 30kph. Well, at least when they finished the drug and alcohol testing it was light, which was a bit better, wasn’t any warmer but at least there was light.  I picked him up again in the late afternoon and then took the car to the carwash and gave it a bath to get rid of any salt from the saltworks. The steelworks own all the land in that area and that borders the beginning of the land owned by the army for its play-pen, but there is only one road through and that’s through the steelworks site and aloingside the saltworks – hence the bath.  John’s place is right on the very edge of  the  army Play-Pen.  After  several years, farmers who farmed and kept sheep on that land are still fighting the Defence Force ( Fed. Govt) for  fair compensation for the Compulsory Purchase Order the Feds imposed on them. They left us a sliver of land for the Wild Dog Hill Conservation Park.

Wednesday: Was awake at 1:36 this morning. A thunderstorm exploded overhead, woke the dogs, which woke me. They started barking and  I had almost all the lights on and unsure of what was happening: the noise of the rain pounding down was incredible. Got the dogs settled down but it took me ages to get back to sleep – lying in bed and listening to the  heavy rain.  I slept until the alarm went off at 5:45 but it was still raining so no walk this morning. Of course, I was willing but those two went all woosie on me  :o)  Yes, it’s still “dogs” but Max will be going home either tomorrow,  (Thursday) or Friday. At

Giant Cuttlefish

the moment (7:20am) it is still raining although not quite so heavy.   Telephone call today and Max will not be going home until Sunday so we have him for three more days. Well, he’s been here for three weeks so we can manage three more days.

The Cuttlefish season is upon us again and I have to organize the volunteers for the catering for four dates – two at the end of this month and a further two at the start of the following month. I believe this is the last I shall be organizing  and we should ( better have!!) a new Secretary  after the AGM on1st July.  Will be quite a change but I feel it’s needed although I will still be doing some things until the new Secretary finds her feet and takes over everything. She’s a clever lady so that shouldn’t take her too long and I might see about me talking to the traders and getting her telephone number with them instead of mine, but we’ll see.  I have organized the Cuttlefish people so that’s ok – the next two dates will not be organized by me – at least, I hope not.

Arrium, Brunch and Misty Days

For much of last week and for what remains of this week, I have been playing gofer.

“Would you go to the supermarket and get me more flour”

“Why do you need so much flower? We’re supposed to feed ém not fatten ém!”

“Well if I don’t have flour I can’t make scones”

“Will that be one bag or two?”

Anyway,  think part of the reason this weekend went so quickly is that we had a function and I spent much of the week helping  and running back and forward to the supermarket for supplies. Then we had the function, and the  relaxation after that before reality crept in and we remembered we have a big function this coming weekend  (Sat. 17th) – This is the  Brunch Weekend! More running around.  Probably just as well, the mornings and evenings are cold -1 / -3 c  cold. This morning, for example, it was -1c but there was also a heavy mist – we don’t get fog – and visibility down to about 35 yards. We did go out for a walk this morning- despite the cold and the mist – and Benji seems to be turning into a ten feet dog – he is currently  incapable of walking for more than ten feet  and he stops, has a sniff and a pee. I keep telling him he’s wasting valuable coffee time, but it just doesn’t seem to make an impression. It was interesting walking in the mist – everything was so quiet. Haven’t done that in a long while.

Hello peeple..

The WaWa is not getting any better . Yes, I seem to have become her BFF but at the expense of Benji. Her Jealousy is such that she will go for Benji if he come near me when she is around. Benji has turned on her a few times and I once had to physically remove him as he had her pinned down. I would really like to say that it made a difference but almost as soon  I got him off her she went straight at him again. From time to time I muzzle her when it gets too much and that does make a difference, but it’s not ideal and I don’t enjoy doing it. And before you ask, yes it was from the Vet and it is fitted to her,  but the WaWa believes that this is her house and Benji is an intruder. I still have an insanely optimistic  view that it will settle down and they will become friends. Armed neutrality would be an improvement.

The preferred offer for the purchase of Arrium is the bid from South Korea but there are still some things to work through yet. They have said that they will spend the necessary funds to upgrade the operations and that could be good for employment in the town. They have a very different method of operation, which is also very successful and they may introduce this system here in a planned upgrade.  It could also assist in getting Sooah back if there are additional employment opportunities.

Relaxing in the car

I have come to the conclusion that although the WaWa is my new BFF, this last year has not been fair on Benji. The only times he is safe from her is when he’s out with me or when he’s here in the room with me. If it is a nice day Bernji and me will go outside with the  disc player and we will sit together on the garden swing and listen to Sinatra.  So, if Sooah did return  and wanted the dog back, I would hand her over, but I rather suspect she would have a difficult time with her, because she is certainly not the WaWa she left with us fourteen months ago.

Monday and another very  heavy mist morning with visibility reduced to about 20+ feet. These days I cut the walk short and do not go to the end because I dislike not being able to see the bush ( land) on either side of me once I have cleared the houses. However I make up for the lost area by doing a circle of the block before I start the morning walk, so he’s not getting short changed :o)

The Brunch on Saturday went very well and we catered for about 70 people. We ran out of sandwiches and I did offer to go to the shop and get bread, butter and things for sandwiches but we had plenty of cakes, scones and biscuits. Have no idea the final figure of what we raised but I expect I  will find out soon enough.

Ladies Brunch & Cancer Support

Mmmm - Scones.
Mmmm – Scones.

Wednesday:  Yes it’s still Wednesday and it’s still wet. It has been raining for most of the night and it’s still raining now. Needless to say Benji and I did not go out for our morning walk. If it stops during the course of the morning I will take him for a walk around the wetlands – staying on the bitumen, of course. At the moment it is pretty heavy with no sign of any let up. Mind you the forecast did say rain today and there you are – it’s really raining

There is a dispute ( like we need more!?!) with the decisiontea02 to break up Arrium and sell it off.  The State government,  whilst not entirely opposed to the idea, expressed the view that Arrium should be sold as a whole, not broken up, it stated this morning that if anything in the sale was to the determent of Whyalla or SA then they would pull the  tax-payer funded support package. Love this State Government  it so inspires confidence!  Today is Friday and it’s still raining off and on and tomorrow – Saturday – the ladies hold the  “Presbyterian Ladies Brunch” which raises funds for the local Cancer Support Group, which is based at the  hospital. Much of the funds raised by various groups goes to a central place in Adelaide and not all that much ever comes back here.  Like others we were doing this whilst our local  support group struggled but then the ladies decided that this was not right so they stopped supporting organizations that do very little for the local community and instead they wanted to keep the funds they raise local to benefit local people – much of which is breast cancer. I was in favour of that since Annabell went through all this some years ago when they discovered a lump, which after several tests and biopsy, turned out to be a benign cyst. It was very scary for a while.   The local people

B.C. Ribbon
B.C. Ribbon

were very supportive. The Session Clerk went through the same only hers turned out to be cancer.

I am generally a scones and butter person but I have been told that scones and honey is very tasty so I am going to take some honey with me tomorrow. Well, I will be there  from start to finish and then help with the clearing up. Not sure but I think the Scones and Honey might by an Easy suggestion. Speaking about Easy, I think Easy and his staff are still having a difficult time with the spread of the  strikes and disputes – according to the news, France is not all that  pleasant at the moment. I remember what life was like before we left Scotland – Miner strikes, Rail strikes, Transport strikes – power cuts. I remember going to the newsagent every day to get the paper because the centre pages

Part of one of the tables.
Part of one of the tables.
Tables filling up as more food arrived
Tables filling up as more food arrived

contained a map of the city and highlighted the areas that would be affected by power failures that day and night. Annabell and I and a baby went through similar problems, Easy, so we have a bit of an idea what you are going through.   In Scotland army units took to the street because the garbage men were on strike and that was the only way we could keep the streets clear and  stop any spread of disease. The month after we left to come to Australia,  Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister.

Attendance was down  this year and a rough estimate is about $840, but given the industrial climate at the moment, this was to be expected. We believe some families have already left for other places. Still it was well attended and everyone was quite happy. We had a small table with Gluten Free food option and that went well. No one ever leaves our table feeling that haven’t been fed  :o)

Rain and Gala Night.

The Completed Area
The Completed Area

There are times when I think Mother Nature goes out of her way to contradict me. Only the other day ( yesterday in fact) I was saying that the rain seems to pass away from us and today – yes — it’s chucking it down. Tonight is the Mayoral Gala and apart from Showcasing arts and performing talents, it is also a fundraiser for the RFDS, so we have to be there – not everyone but enough to make a recognised appearance – Red RFDS Shirts and badges. We will also have a Merchandise Table and an Information Table. Not sure when it finishes but I don’t think it will be too late.

RFDS Aircraft
RFDS Aircraft

As it happened we did finish fairly early but I have to say it was a great night, very much enjoyed – I just need someone to explain to me how six girls from the Dance School can stand in a line on the stage wearing tap shoes and tap out six different rhythms  at the same time  :o)  As far as I am aware we did fairly well and all the proceeds of the night will be donated to us – which is fantastic. In the last five years we have raised over $151,000 for the RFDS. I think it was great that the Mayor chose us as the preferred organization.

Annabell and the ladies held their Annual Brunch. This raises funds for our local Hospital Cancer Support Unit. This year they raised just over $900 and at their meeting this afternoon they decided to make the amount up to $1000, which, really, is a fantastic effort for a few hours but then the ladies put on a great spread and it is always well attended. Not much out of the South-East, but then I never really expected any anyway.  When they say that they are going to “Rationalize”what they mean is they will abandon everything outside Adelaide. They have done this in the past so they kind of have a track record. I think they get nose bleeds if they move out of the city limits. Yes, I know, I am being unkind – I’ll feel bad about it later – probably.

It has been raining off and on for three days now. No flooding to speak of but we did have a couple of mini storms when the rain was so  heavy that it

Yogi - Our friend's dog
Yogi – Our friend’s dog

overflowed the gutters  which means water everywhere. These mini-storms didn’t last long – a sort of cloud burst if you like – but both  of the water tanks are full.  Everything outside is wet and damp and I’ve had Chienne in here with me. The noise was too much for her and she started to get anxious so I gave her half a tablet to calm her down. I made up a bed for her on my moon chair (bucket chair) then covered her with a blanket. She lay there for most of the night.

PeekaBoo - I see you.
PeekaBoo – I see you.

Next week we will be having Yogi back again. Fay was recalled to the Breast Cancer clinic and now has to go down to Adelaide for further investigation, so we will have Yogi to look after for a few days. I took herself to the clinic today and it will be three weeks before we get any results but we don’t foresee any problems. I head off to Adelaide on Tuesday so I’m looking for calmer weather. I think some showers on Wednesday but if we leave early enough we should be clear of the area before it becomes a problem.

PS: Yesterday I went back to the Art Center to be presented with a cheque  by the Mayor as the funds raised on the Gala night for the RFDS.. Had to leave where I was, go the to toilet in the Art center and get changed, then get on the stage for the presentation – photographs and interview – which was pretty cool!